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DHS Report: Sceret Service Bungled White House Intruder Case

By    |   Thursday, 13 Nov 2014 09:14 PM

A scathing Department of Homeland Security review found a series of Secret Service flubs allowed Omar Gonzalez to jump the White House fence and get deep into the White House before being stopped, The New York Times reports.

The Times said it got an executive summary of the review, which hasn't yet been made public.

According to the review, Gonzalez could easily have been stopped by the Secret Service officer stationed with an attack dog at the North Lawn. But the officer was talking on his cellphone in a van and  missed Gonzalez after he took the fence leap. The review found the same officer also didn't have his radio earpiece in, and his backup radio had been left in his locker.

The officer finally found out about the intruder from another officer who was running after Gonzalez. It was at that point a dog was given the order to attack, but it was too late, the report found, because the dog missed its window to "lock onto" Gonzalez.

The new Homeland Security review of the Sept. 19 breach also found the Secret Service bungled its investigation of Gonzalez after the incident, and that officers at the White House weren't adequately trained for the situation because of staffing shortages.

According to the review, Gonzalez first came to the attention of the authorities July 19, when he was stopped while driving in Virginia. The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Virginia State Police searched his car, uncovering 11 firearms, and a map of Washington with the White House and two other landmarks highlighted.

The ATF alerted a local Secret Service office about what they had found, but the office decided not to further investigate or report the matter to Secret Service headquarters, the review noted.

A little more than a month later, uniformed officers outside the White House found Gonzalez walking around with a hatchet under his clothes, but let him go.

Once the Secret Service learned of that incident, it asked the officers to find Gonzalez and interview him again. The subsequent search of his car found "several empty firearms cases, four hatchets, several bottles of urine, and camping gear," the review found. Yet he was let go again.

The next day, a supervisor for the uniformed division — without consulting with senior agency officials or federal prosecutors — ordered officers around the White House to arrest Gonzalez if they spotted him with a hatchet. Later the same day, officers came across Gonzalez and searched him, but found only a folding knife. He was let go.

The review of the White House breach is part of a much broader investigation of the Secret Service being conducted by the deputy secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, the Times reports.

Mayorkas is also expected to provide recommendations on who should succeed Julia Pierson as Secret Service director. She resigned after the breach and other security lapses.

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A scathing Department of Homeland Security review found a series of Secret Service flubs allowed Omar Gonzalez to jump the White House fence and get deep into the White House before being stopped, The New York Times reports. The Times said it got an executive summary of...
secret service, white house, intruder, homeland, security, report
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2014-14-13
Thursday, 13 Nov 2014 09:14 PM
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